Five Favorite Films

Nicholas Sparks' Five Favorite (Romantic) Films

by | April 8, 2015 | Comments

In my heart, Nicholas Sparks is the Sire of Swoon-Worthy Movie Moments. In honor of his latest book adaptation The Longest Ride, he wanted to share his top five favorite great love stories. Get ready to snuggle.

Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942) 99%

This movie is the best example of the theme “if you love someone, sometimes you have to let them go.” This guy [Rick], he has fallen in love with this woman, and he can’t get over her. She comes back, and she’s married to this freedom fighter, someone that the Nazis are hunting. If he doesn’t give her these two plane tickets, he gets the girl, because the Nazis will find this guy. If he gives her the tickets, her husband is saved and he’ll never see her again. Boy, what a choice. Love often confronts us with some choices that are the toughest things of all. They include compromise and at times, sacrifice. And to me, Casablanca did that phenomenally well.

Ghost (Jerry Zucker, 1990) 75%

Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. [This movie] came out the same year as Pretty Woman, but this was a film that worked on so many levels — it wonderfully incorporated humor and the supernatural, and was a love story in which, even though the lead character dies, he just can’t leave the woman that he loves. And they put in the mystery, too. It’s such a unique package, I don’t think that it’s ever been done before.RT: For the majority of my life I hated Tony Goldwyn because he’s the villain of that movie.

Right. The whole thing works. You say his name, and yep, I know exactly who that is, because he was the bad guy. How could you betray your best friend?

Dirty Dancing (Emile Ardolino, 1987) 72%

Nobody puts Baby in a corner.RT: Amen.

Right? So this is a love story about a summer fling. It incorporated music and dance into a story that rang of nostalgia and the world as it used to be, which seems so different, and yet the emotions that all of the characters experience — from the couple that falls in love, or the parents or the sister — they all ring with authenticity. It all comes together in a way that is both memorable and moving.

RT: You might be the only person in the history of Five Favorite Films to pick two Patrick Swayze films. It’s long overdue.

It’s a small, specific genre, and the fact that he was in two amazing ones — well, he worked in one and the studio said, “Hey let’s do another.” It’s as simple as that. It was Dirty Dancing that came first, and it was a moderate hit, not a massive hit. Ghost was a massive hit.


(James Cameron, 1997) 88%

Titanic: the world’s second highest grossing film in history. It is really the only love story in the top five that feels epic. I know Casablanca is set against the backdrop of World War II, and yet this one is epic, a giant ship, and we all know what’s going to happen. We don’t really know who was on board, but they came up with a story about a couple that falls in love while they’re on board. To me, that has earned it its place in the top five.

Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall, 1990) 65%

My number one top love story would be Pretty Woman. This film wins because unlike so many films, this wasn’t a romantic comedy, it was a romantic drama, and yet there’s humor, the performances were unbelievable, the chemistry between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts was palpable onscreen. It hearkens to fantasy, like “I can be struggling but someone’s gonna see my true me inside.” And it captures all of that in a way that, at the time, felt utterly fresh and original, and you throw in the ending, wonderful. Of these movies, truly, this one is really the only happy one. Patrick Swayze was gone, Leo, sorry, he didn’t make it. Rick doesn’t get the girl. And Baby goes home with her parents at the end of the summer.

The Longest Ride opens Friday, Apr. 10 in wide release.